Managing Director of General Electric Power, in charge of Gas Power Plant (Anglophone West Africa), Mohammed Mijindadi, said full optimisation of Nigeria’s national grid should be a critical part of the discourse around achieving sustainable energy.
In a session with the media, Mijindadi said energy transition would help the country to achieve the level of energy mix required to fully optimise the national grid and wean the sector from the current risks.
He stated that hydro and gas was important for powering the country’s dreamed industrialization, arguing that gas “is still very critical to the country’s future energy need”.
He said General Electric shared the desire to utilise the country’s natural gas to power the economy, revealing that a few of the projects the company was working on would add about 500 megawatts to the national grid at completion.
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Mijindadi said that General Electric team, which is over 90 per cent local, fully understands issues relating to the country’s power challenge and commits to deploying its technology to help the country achieve sufficiency
He said: “Nigeria’s power sector, today, is very convoluted. That does not mean the problems are not solvable. Many stakeholders need to be aligned. There are gas producers who are looking for where to push their gas to get the best value. They are not incentivised to sell gas in Nigeria since we are competing with other markets. We have the generating companies (GenCos) who cannot generate without gas. It would be easy for GenCos to take the gas but they do not own it. So, they depend on other parties who have other obligations and constraints.
“The transmission also comes with its unique challenges. At some point, the Transmission Company was concessionned but not much was achieved. There has not been sufficient investment in the infrastructure. Today, it can only move 5,000MWs, which is the reason you may be a part of the market where they feel they can get money from unfairly favoured. But that is not the fault of the company.
There are the distribution companies (DisCos), which have been fully privatized, but where there are still challenges.”
The power expert said efficiency would improve if the industry stakeholders are more aligned, enabling each player to ring-fence its operations for optimal performance rather than depending on a chain they have no control over.
He added that the frustration is rooted in inefficiency that is created by the convoluted chain.
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Hopefully, he noted, the country would advance gradually into more efficient models. The General Electric executive said his company was working on three new projects that would add about 500MWs to the system in the coming years.
His colleague in charge of GOs Power Service (sub-Saharan Africa, Kenneth Oyakhire, pointed out poor maintenance culture as a major hurdle the country must surmount to achieve efficiency.
Using the car maintenance analogy, Oyakhire maintained that Nigeria could only get the best from its power installations and equipment if it improves on the maintenance culture, saying the attitude of “running down assets” and evading maintenance requirements would not take the country far.